Having Everything

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Daily Reformation, 2 Samuel 11:1-15

From the Reformer

Philip Melancthon demanded of Luther: How it was, that though David was instituted and ordained a king immediately of God, yet he had many tribulations and plagues, as his psalms show? Luther said: David was not acquainted with many good days: he was plagued by the ungodly and false teachers, he saw that his people banded against him, he endured and suffered many insurrections and tumults, which taught him his lesson to pray. When he was without tribulation, he grew giddy-headed and secure, as we see in his adultery, and his murder of Uriah.

Ah, Lord God! how is it thou sufferest such great people to fall? This David had six wives, who doubtless were wise and understanding women; as was the wise Abigail; if they were all such, he was furnished with surpassing wives. Moreover, he had ten concubines; yet, notwithstanding, he was an adulterer.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

“What is your number one goal in life?” he asked of each of the couple that sat before him in marriage counseling. She wanted to raise a family and he wanted to win the lottery. The pastor stated for the only time in his career, “I counsel you not to get married.” Indeed, not many years later, with two young children by then, the marriage came to a bitter and violent end. When one is not content with a little, he will never be satisfied with much. The young man would never be happy with a normal life and that unhappiness would poison his marriage. Yet the Apostle Paul, who likely meagerly supported himself by making tents in his spare time, had learned to be content with either a little or a lot (Phil 4:11-13).

Why was he able to be content with a little when this poor fellow imagined he could only be happy with a winning lottery ticket? Paul already possessed everything. Whether he had little or much, Paul was satisfied with the great treasure he owned. As Henry Lyte wrote in his hymn, “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken,” “Destitute, despised, forsaken… God and heaven are still my own.” When all else seems lost to you, you still have God and heaven—and that is everything.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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